When I saw the return address was my publisher, I ripped open the flaps. Oh yes – this was something I had been waiting for – from the day I could clutch a crayon in my fist and scribble my first letter “A”. Inside the boxes were Advance Reading Copies of my novel Stone Cold Dead.
Goodreads posts the Wikipedia definition of an ARC: a copy of a book released by its publisher before the book has gone to press for a complete printing. It is typically not in the same binding as the eventual published book. In my case, the ARC is a paperback while my novel will be a hardcover. ARCs are not for sale, and as you can see, mine is marked with “not for sale – advance uncorrected proof.”
I have no experience with ARCs. This is my debut novel. Here is what I do know:
1) ARCs are promotional material.
2) Given to library and bookstore acquisition staff in advance of the release of the novel, ARCs can encourage the purchase of copies to stock shelves for patrons and customers.
3) Reviews of ARCs by popular bloggers can create advance hype for the novel.
4) Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads can boost sales.
There is a lot I don’t know, such as the specific logistics for getting ARCs to the right people, and when. If someone reviews my novel and there’s nowhere to post the review online, is my effort / postage wasted? How far in advance of publication gives the librarian or bookstore owner time to read my ARC and place book orders? If I start too soon, will my novel lose momentum before it’s even released?
Fortunately, I know published authors and I participate in groups like the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the ever helpful Five Star Cengage publishing community.
First on my expanding agenda is to read through an ARC, to make sure that’s my book inside the distinctive red cover, and that no chapters are missing. Next, tempting through it is to rush copies into the hands of anxious friends and family, I need to assess how many ARCs are required to promote the December hardcover release of my novel.
Have any readers received an ARC from an author, and if so, did you do anything beyond reading it? If you are an author, do you have advice on how best to use ARCs?